Leon, the “healthy fast food” chain is set to launch a new Asian food concept in partnership with Aylmer Aaharn, the Thai food group co-owned by Australian chef David Thompson, Big Hospitality reports.
John Vincent, co-founder of Leon, was previously reported as saying that the company’s expansion plans included a new concept that would be “more in the Asian space using the Leon-type kitchen” — a concept now confirmed to be called Tuk Shop, with a planned pop-up debut in April, in an existing Leon restaurant in the West End. Focussing on “Thai classics” including curries, noodle and rice dishes, and salads, the new concept will be built upon Leon’s production and service model.
While it is understood that Thompson is not expected to work directly on the Tuk Shop project, there’s an unavoidable element of anticipation associated with his return to London — his restaurant Nahm, at Belgravia’s Halkin Hotel, was the first Thai establishment in Europe to receive a Michelin Star, before he moved it to Bangkok in 2012. Last year, he made a one-night-only comeback during London Food Month in collaboration with “nu-Thai” chefs Mark Dobie and Andy Oliver (Thompson alumni) at Som Saa.
At the time, he was quoted as saying, “Thai food seems to be going through a great upsurge again and you can see that Londoners are really enjoying one of the world’s greatest cuisines” — a sentiment that he and Leon are now no doubt banking upon.